Villalba Files Bill to Save the Lives of Organ Recipients

February 17, 2017

Rep. Villalba files bill to provide greater and more efficient access to organs in Texas

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Today, Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) filed HB 1938, which will amend the current method of identifying as an organ donor on a Texas driver’s license. HB 1938 would provide that those Texas citizens who seek to donate their organs upon death to an organ recipient may do so by applying for or renewing a valid current Texas driver’s license. If the applicant wishes to opt out of the organ donation protocol, the applicant must simply check a single box indicating that the applicant would prefer to not donate their organs to needy Texas recipients. Under current Texas law, the applicant would “opt-in” to become an organ donor. Under HB 1938, the applicant would instead “opt-out” if they do not want to donate their organs.

HB 1938 will only apply to people who are over the age of eighteen years old and will not impact any current Texas driver’s license holder. The new law will ONLY affect those applying for a license for the first time or who are renewing an existing license.

Representative Villalba’s bill mirrors systems currently in place in many parts of Europe, where, because of such changes, access to organs has been significantly increased. In the U.S., only 26 donors exist per million people. It is clear that our national need is much greater than the number of American organ donors. With 121,678 people in the United States waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, Representative Villalba believes HB 1938 will increase organ availability to those hoping for a second chance. According to a study by the United Kingdom Organ Donation Taskforce, some countries that adopted an opt-out system saw donation rates increase by up to 30%.

Dr. Shelley Hall, Chief of Transplant Cardiology and Mechanical Support/Heart Failure at Baylor University Medical Center, said “While Texas has seen its greatest rise in donors this past year, we still have a long way to go. Too many people die on the waiting list every day for lack of suitable donors. I believe this is a positive step towards narrowing the gap.”

Representative Villalba said, “Every year, all across Texas, we watch our fellow Texans succumb to heart, liver, kidney and lung disease because there are not enough viable organs available for transplant. We hope to change that. If we pass this bill, we will save thousands of lives. Now is the time to act.”

Representative Villalba aims to increase the number of organs available to recipients with the bill, as well as remove the negative stigma from identifying as an organ donor. The Mayo Clinic estimates that 21 Americans on the organ donation waiting list die each day. Representative Villalba believes implementing an opt-out system for organ donation in Texas will shorten the waiting list in Texas and save lives daily. Likewise, Representative Villalba knows that dialysis, a common medical procedure utilized by people needing kidneys, costs five times more per year than a single kidney transplant. If more kidneys were available, Texas could significantly lower its medical expenses for those on subsidized healthcare.

Representative Jason Villalba represents Lake Highlands, Preston Hollow and North West Dallas in the Texas House of Representatives. Rep. Villalba, a graduate of Baylor University and the University of Texas School of Law, was first elected to House District 114 in November of 2012. He is a proud, fourth-generation Texan and the first in his family to attend college. Prior to attending law school and becoming a partner in a major Texas law firm, Rep. Villalba held the positions of financial analyst and economist for a Fortune 500 Company located in Dallas.

Potential changes to schools’ grading system?

January 17, 2017

From Breitbart – Armed Texas Teachers: We Will ‘Protect Our Students’

September 23, 2016

Excerpt Below. Read the full story at Breitbart

A small school district in the Texas Hill Country placed a sign that gives would-be troublemakers something to think about if they contemplate harming any students on campus.

“Attention,” the sign reads. “Please be aware that the staff at Medina ISD may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”

Last week, school officials put up the sign in front of the Medina Independent School District tucked away in the Hill Country, nearly 70 miles from San Antonio. The nearest town, Bandera, is roughly 30 minutes away.

Medina ISD houses a total of 303 students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 on one campus. The Bandera Bulletin posted about the sign on Facebook last Thursday. At press time, that post surpassed 5,265 shares and had over 440 comments. Of the 3,700 reactions it got, only two were “angry” and one was a “sad” face.

Most feedback to the sign has been largely positive. Parent Jillian Sides, who has two children enrolled on the campus, told KSAT: “Schools have been a target for, for lack of a better word, crazy people, and I’m perfectly fine with it.”

The 2013 Protection of Texas Children Act permits concealed handguns on otherwise “gun free” public school campuses in a marshal plan. Authored by Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), this program allows trained teachers to keep a firearm in a lockbox within immediate reach.

Rep. Villalba’s Latest Op-Ed; Villalba Stands with Abbott to Eliminate Sanctuary Cities in Texas

October 30, 2015

The reason illegal immigration has catapulted to the No. 1 issue in America is not because of esoteric concerns about racism or xenophobia. It is because moms and dads across the nation want to tuck their children in at night with the knowledge that their community is safe and that law enforcement authorities are doing everything within their power to keep those who would seek us harm away from our little ones.

In Dallas County, due to the actions of Sheriff Lupe Valdez, we no longer have that reassurance.

There is no question that the vast majority of men and women who have come to this country without documentation have done so seeking a better life for themselves and their families. And as a fellow Hispanic of Mexican descent, I understand their story in a palpable way that others might not. But I also recognize that not all of them have come with such pure intent. The statistics do not lie: During the last two decades, Texas has experienced a material increase in human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and drug-related homicide as a direct result of increased illegal immigration.

The Obama Administration has largely abdicated its responsibility for this crisis. In addition to his failure to secure the border, the president has undermined the popular Secure Communities Program, which served as an effective tool against illegal immigration, by establishing the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), a much-weakened version of its predecessor.

But even under PEP, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has some tools at its disposal. Most notably, it can ask local authorities to hold detained undocumented residents — those who have been brought in for violating criminal statute, and who are in the country illegally — for 48 hours beyond the standard release time. That’s enough time to conduct an inquiry and begin the process of deportation for those who pose a threat.

Yet Valdez, the Dallas County sheriff, has unilaterally and without cogent explanation refused to enforce this commonsense and easily implemented measure. She notes, “We have to base our decisions on what is best for the whole.”

But what evidence does she have that releasing undocumented detainees who violate criminal statues is good for the “whole?” Further, Valdez says she will decide these cases on a case-by-case basis — without regard to whether the detainee’s offense is a felony or a misdemeanor. It is simply unconscionable that an elected law enforcement officer would choose to ignore existing legal protocols based on her own subjective reasoning, a point that the local Dallas newspaper accentuated in a recent editorial.

As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, I commend Gov. Greg Abbott for his bold and decisive efforts to stop this flagrant disregard for federal protocols. I have assured him that I and many other members of the Texas House stand ready to push legislation forward in the 85th legislative session that will ensure that this type of abrogation of the law does not continue in Texas. Our communities and our families count on us to keep them safe and we will see to it that they are.

If you agree with Rep. Villalba please show your support today by liking him on Facebook!

Tell the Senate NO on Planned Parenthood Funding

August 3, 2015

Friends, Today we must stand together and put an end to one of the most barbaric practices in American History: baby harvesting.  Whether you are a conservative Republican like me or just a concerned citizen, it’s is time for us to act to completely DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD in the United States so that we can end the sale of baby parts for profit.

At 2:00 today, the United States Senate will vote to defund Planned Parenthood.  As of right now, that vote is uncertain.  We need you to call Senator Cruz and Senator Cornyn and let them know that you want to end the horrific atrocities committed every day by Planned Parenthood. Join me in this fight.

Call them now and make your voice heard:

Senator John Cornyn Washington Office: (202) 224-2934

Senator Ted Cruz Washington Office: (202) 224-5922

House Passes Ignition Interlock Bill

May 11, 2015

On May 5, Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) passed House Bill 2246 in the Texas House of Representatives creating an all-offender ignition interlock law that provides first-time convicted DWI offenders with access to an occupational license so long as the offender installs an ignition interlock device on the offender’s automobile. Under existing law, interlock devices are required for repeat offenders and as a condition of probation for first-time offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater, but interlock devices are not currently available for first time offenders with a BAC of .08.

“HB 2246, creating an all-offender interlock law, is desperately needed in Texas,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. Representative Villalba further noted that “Texas leads the country in deaths caused by drunken drivers. Ignition interlocks save lives, and it’s time for Texas to expand the reach of its interlock law to help end this violent, preventable crime.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s National President Colleen Sheehey-Church and families of DWI victims in Texas testified on April 7 before the House Homeland Security Committee to urge passage of HB 2246, which would create an all-offender ignition interlock law in Texas – the bill was unanimously passed out of the committee. According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,337 fatalities in Texas were caused by drunken drivers in 2013. Another 15,687 people were injured.

All-offender ignition interlock legislation is MADD’s number one
legislative priority across the country and in Texas. Twenty-four states, including Arizona and New Mexico, require these devices for all first-time convicted drunk drivers. In New Mexico, where an all-offender interlock law was passed in 2005, traffic deaths caused by drunken drivers have declined 40 percent. Arizona has seen a 45 percent decline in drunk driving deaths since passing its law in 2007.

Studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have found ignition interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent when compared with license suspensions. The National Transportation Safety Board and every major traffic safety organization, including AAA and the Governors Highway Safety Association, recommend the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

Representative Jason Villalba Announces Two Bills Combating Domestic Violence in Texas

April 17, 2015

Texas State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) authored and filed two important bills addressing domestic violence in Texas. The two pieces of legislation aim to inform the public of repeat offenders and to look at the punishment given to repeat offenders.

“Domestic violence is a growing epidemic with tragic consequences,” said Rep. Villalba. “We need to send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated and that repeat offenses will be met with the harshest penalties available under the law. Domestic abusers must understand that they cannot threaten, intimidate or harm those around them – and if they do – they better be prepared for Texas-sized consequences.”

Rep. Villalba authored and filed House Bill 1897, which will make the 3rd conviction involving domestic violence a second degree felony offense, requiring incarceration for at least two years. Currently, a first offense for domestic (or family) violence is a Class A misdemeanor, a second offense is a third degree felony, and the third offense, and all offenses thereafter are also third degree felonies. Under Rep. Villalba’s proposed legislation, if an offender is convicted of domestic violence a third time, the offender will be sentenced to prison, where such offender shall be required to serve the longer of two years or the minimum of one half of the length of the sentence, prior to being eligible for consideration for parole. This bill was heard yesterday, April 16th in the House Committee of Corrections.

Under current Texas law, an individual convicted of a Class A misdemeanor can be fined up to $4,000 and receive up to a year in jail, or both. A conviction for a third degree felony can result in a punishment of between 2-10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000. A second degree felony conviction may be punished with a 2-20 year prison sentence and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Rep. Villalba also authored and filed earlier in the legislative session House Bill 3841, relating to a central database containing information about offenders who have committed certain offenses against children or offenses involving family or dating violence. This bill requires that the Department of Public Safety maintain a computerized central database containing public information about offenders who have been convicted of three or more family violence crimes. The bill establishes that the information contained in the database is public information with the exception of the person’s social security number, driver’s license number, telephone number or any information that would identify the victim of the offense with respect to which the affirmative finding was made. This amendment to the Government Code is meant to aid in the safety of our families and community. House Bill 3841 was heard Tuesday, April 14th in the House Committee of Homeland Security and Public Safety.

“The combination of these two bills sends a powerful message to repeat abusers – if they engage in domestic violence, there will be severe, long-term consequences,” said Rep. Villalba. “It’s time to take action to put an end to domestic violence in Texas. For far too long, we have talked about ways to combat this issue without taking real and tangible steps that will result in reducing these crimes. Today, we are taking action and all abusers in Texas need to be on notice that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and that if they continue to abuse a spouse or a loved one they will go to jail.”

Under Texas statute, domestic violence is referenced as family violence and defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault or that is a threat placing the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, not including self-defense measures. It also includes abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household and dating violence.

Representative Jason Villalba represents Lake Highlands, Preston Hollow and North West Dallas in the Texas House of Representatives. Rep. Villalba, a graduate of Baylor University and the University of Texas School of Law, was first elected to House District 114 in November of 2012. He is a proud, fourth-generation Texan and the first in his family to attend college. Prior to attending law school, Rep. Villalba held the positions of financial analyst and economist for a Fortune 500 Company located in Dallas.

State Representative Jason Villalba Files Bill Requiring Greater Transparency on Use of Asset Forfeiture Funds

March 2, 2015

Today, State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) announced that he has filed House Bill 2116, legislation that would limit the use of asset forfeiture funds and require expenses satisfied with asset forfeiture funds to be published publicly on a regular basis.

“It’s critical that we effectively utilize every resource available in the fight against crime,” Representative Jason Villalba said. “As currently written, the statute regarding the use of asset forfeiture funds is vague and has opened the door to abuse – and we need to make sure that door is shut and locked,” Villalba continued.

The Villalba asset forfeiture bill was filed in the wake of instances of purported fund abuse by a former Dallas County District Attorney, who used asset forfeiture funds to pay for personal legal settlement expenses.

If passed, Villalba’s bill will restrict the uses of the asset forfeiture fund to certain enumerated public law enforcement purposes, awareness, education expenses or equipment that supports law enforcement. The bill explicitly prohibits using the funds for personal, non-public, use and the law would require that expenses satisfied with asset forfeiture funds must be publically published on a quarterly basis.

“While this law is primarily about strengthening public safety, it’s also about trust and transparency. We must ensure that our citizens have confidence that their interests are being protected and that our law enforcement agencies are honest and open. It’s my hope that this bill will close any loopholes that may allow abuse and will build public trust that our public funds are being used in a manner that puts communities and our citizens first,” Villalba said.

Representative Jason Villalba represents Lake Highlands, Preston Hollow and North West Dallas in the Texas House of Representatives. Rep. Villalba, a graduate of Baylor University and the University of Texas School of Law, was first elected to House District 114 in November of 2012. He is a proud, fourth generation Texan and the first in his family to attend college. Prior to attending law school, Rep. Villalba held the positions of financial analyst and economist for a Fortune 500 Company located in Dallas.

Representative Jason Villalba Files Bill Creating The First Chancery Court of Texas

February 18, 2015

Today, Texas State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) filed House Bill 1603, which creates the first Chancery Court in the history of Texas. This legislation creates a new court, called the Chancery Court of Texas, whose limited jurisdiction will include various business-related legal matters that currently clog the state district courts and that are best determined by expertized business courts. The Chancery Court of Texas will focus exclusively on complex business matters such as corporate governance matters, mergers and acquisitions disputes and complex securities matters and will streamline and make more efficient the district court legal process in Texas.

“With the creation of the Chancery Court of Texas, we are providing access to a specialized court for complex business matters that have heretofore been heard solely in Texas district courts that are capable, but not designed, to handle these types of disputes. By establishing the Chancery Court of Texas, we are providing Texas businesses with incentives to incorporate in Texas and we are incenting foreign companies to incorporate and re-incorporate in Texas.” Villalba said.

The main provisions of the Chancery Court of Texas are as follows:

  • Jurisdiction of the court will extend to narrowly defined, business-related litigation matters, including actions against businesses, accusations of wrongdoing by businesses or their members, disputes between businesses, violations of the Business Organizations Code, Finance Code and Business and Commerce Code and complex business issues relating to corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions and state and federal securities matters.
  • The Chancery Court is empowered to issue all writs that may be necessary for the enforcement of its jurisdiction.
  • Parties to litigation in the Chancery Court will have a right to trial by jury when required in the Texas Constitution.
  • The Chancery Court will consist of seven judges, appointed by the governor to staggered six-year terms. Judges must have extensive business experience or at least 10 years of experience dealing in complex business law, either as a judge, lawyer or professor.
  • In the event of a vacancy on the court, a bipartisan Chancery Court Nominations Advisory Council will compile a list of qualified candidates, from which the governor must choose a nominee.
  • The Chancery Court clerk will be located in Travis County, but its judges will maintain chambers in the county seat of their county of residence.
  • Appeals arising from the Chancery Court will go to an intermediate Chancery Appellate Court, appointed by the governor, having seven members and being appointed in the same manner and having the same qualifications as the Chancery Court. Judgments from this appellate court may be further appealed to the Supreme Court, as is the case with any other district court or court of appeals in Texas.

Rep. Villalba has reviewed the law in 26 other states having similarly focused business courts, has worked closely with the Texas Business Law Foundation, practicing attorneys, business court experts, constitutional scholars and many others to develop a court that is specifically tailored for business and that reasonably and thoughtfully reorganizes the judicial system in Texas to streamline business litigation and increase the efficiency of legal procedure in Texas.

Villalba continued: “Today, we are taking the first step in what is unquestionably one of the biggest developments in the Texas legal community in a generation. By creating this business-focused, specialized Chancery Court, we are telling the world that Texas is open for business and that there is no greater state in the United States to incorporate and begin operations. Texas already has the strongest, most agile economy on the planet. With the creation of the Chancery Court of Texas, we will have one of the most comprehensive, technologically advanced and efficient business courts in the world.”

Rep. Villalba Files HJR Safeguarding and Bolstering Religious Liberty in Texas

December 17, 2014

Legislation protects Texans from State infringement of Religious Liberty

AUSTIN – Texas State Representative Jason Villalba (District 114) announced today that he has authored and filed House Joint Resolution 55 calling for a Constitutional Amendment to the Texas Constitution that would bolster and protect the citizens of Texas from infringement of their religious liberties.  The legislation will ensure that neither the State, nor any county, city, municipality, nor any subdivision thereof, including independent school districts, shall infringe upon or limit the free exercise of religious expression by the citizens of Texas.  The legislation, which will work in consonance with the protections provided by the United States Constitution, will reinforce the protections of all Texans who seek to practice their religion openly and without concern that the State will limit their expression.

“While I acknowledge and respect the concept of a separation of church and state as contemplated by our Founding Fathers, I am deeply troubled by the growing assault on religious expression in the Texas public square.” Villalba said.

“It is time for those who support the First Amendment to step up and confront those who seek to eliminate every vestige of our religious heritage from our town squares and public schools.”  Villalba continued.

The legislation, if passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, would result in a Constitutional Amendment being placed on the ballot in November of 2015.

Speaking of his children, Villalba noted: “I raise my little ones to have a deep and abiding respect for the Almighty, and I will fight to ensure that their religious liberty is not limited merely because they step foot into their public school or a town square.”

Rep. Matt Krause, who has worked with Villalba on the legislation, noted that “Religious liberty has been essential to the preservation of Texans’ freedom and independence since the founding of the Republic. This legislation will ensure that Texas’ rich legacy of religious freedom will continue for generations to come.”

Rep. Villalba worked closely with Liberty Institute to craft a reasonable and tailored response to the most recent attacks on religious freedom in Texas.  “The attacks on religious liberty continue to escalate at unprecedented and alarming rates and no region of our nation, including Texas, is immune from these attacks,” stated Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of Liberty Institute. “Texans deserve clear constitutional protections guaranteeing religious freedom so that we are free to live and act according to our beliefs.”